The Myrtle Beach girls basketball team was built around Khadijah Sessions for the majority of the former Seahawk's six seasons in uniform.
The team won two Class AAA state titles in that time, and Sessions – now playing at South Carolina as a freshman – was no doubt one of the biggest reasons for that.
However, with Myrtle Beach having to start almost from scratch this season, first-year coach Jennifer Dennison’s team enters the final two regular-season games in the exact same spot as last year. The Seahawks (15-8 overall, 6-2 Region VII-AAA) currently sit in second place in the region and need just one victory to earn a home playoff game.
“That’s what I’ve told everyone. I had 10 girls at the beginning of the season. Khadijah was the bulk of the scoring,” Dennison said. “Our ninth and 10th players [now], I’ll put the ball in any one of their hands. That’s the biggest difference.”
Myrtle Beach enters Tuesday’s game at Georgetown with just three seniors on the roster. The rest of the players are sophomores or freshman.
Granted, one of those seniors is a potential all-state honoree. Tanisha Brown added her first triple-double of the season Friday night against St. James when she scored 17 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and dished out 10 assists. The UNC-Charlotte signee bounced back from a nasty knee injury suffered during her junior year.
That triple-double she had last week chased 11 double-doubles.
But while this year’s team is playoff bound, this was by no means a one-year plan. Dennison’s team is not the run-and-gun style it was under former head coach Brian Kiper with Sessions on the roster.
Only two region teams have scored 40 points or more against the Seahawks.
One of those was North Myrtle Beach, the team currently atop the region standings. The Chiefs are 20-2 overall and 8-0 in region play and can lock up a region title with a win Tuesday at home against Socastee or at Myrtle Beach Thursday.
North Myrtle Beach would have to lose both games, while Myrtle Beach would also have to beat Georgetown Tuesday for the region champion to be determined by tie breakers.
Dennison isn’t getting overly concerned with that. If nothing else, Georgetown already beat the Seahawks once this season.
“When that buzzer goes off after 32 minutes, it is what it is,” she said. “I’m sure I’ll get a text from somebody. If that does happen [Socastee defeating North Myrtle Beach], we’ll be ready for them.”
Area playoff scenarios
Only a handful of the 26 boys and girls basketball teams on the Grand Strand have been eliminated from postseason contention entering the final week of the regular season.
What’s more, no area team still alive for the playoffs is locked in to a specific playoff seeding.
The biggest logjam of teams is on the boys’ side of Region VII-AAA. North Myrtle Beach (6-2 region), Myrtle Beach (5-3) and Georgetown, St. James and Wilson (all 4-4) are still alive for the region’s five playoff spots. North Myrtle Beach, courtesy of its head-to-head tie-breakers over St. James and Georgetown, is the only team guaranteed a playoff spot.
Tuesday’s Region VII-AAA games include: Myrtle Beach at Georgetown; Socastee at North Myrtle Beach; and Wilson at St. James.
The Carvers Bay boys team can also win the Region VII-A title Tuesday night. The Bears (7-1 region) play host to C.E. Murray. With a victory, Jeff Mezzatesta’s team will have a one-game lead and the head-to-head tie-breaker over C.E. Murray.
For a full list of postseason scenarios for area teams, visit the Prep Talk Blog at myrtlebeachonline.com.
SCBCA basketball poll
Much like it has been most of the season, three area teams remained ranked in the statewide basketball polls, released by the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association Monday afternoon.
The North Myrtle Beach girls team stayed at No. 4 in the Class AAA rankings after beating Wilson and Georgetown last week to remain perfect in Region VII-AAA.
The North Myrtle Beach boys team dropped two spots after falling to Wilson (and beating Georgetown). Lastly, the Carvers Bay boys team dropped to No. 7 from No. 3 after losing at Scott’s Branch Friday night.
National signing day
The first day high school football players from across the country can sign with college programs is Wednesday. There will be a complete list of expected signings and ceremony information in the morning.
Coaches, if you have not already done so – or if you have changes – please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sun News asks that athletic directors and/or coaches please send schedules for all spring sports to email@example.com.
Contact IAN GUERIN at firstname.lastname@example.org.